Twenty-five years after the fall of communism, the Peterson Institute for International Economics has published a new collection of analytical histories by the economic policymakers who themselves led reform of the former Soviet bloc countries. The authors conclude that rapid and bold economic modernization brought greater success than a slower, more incremental approach. The reforms that worked best, the book argues, were early and comprehensive deregulation of prices and markets, introduction of greater competition, privatization of state-owned enterprises, removal of subsidies, and tightening of fiscal and monetary policies.
The book, The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism, comprises unique essays by 14 scholars cum practitioners from Eastern Europe, most of them drawing on their own experiences in carrying out the difficult transition from state-controlled economies to free markets and democracy. Among the contributors are Leszek Balcerowicz, former deputy prime minister and minister of finance of Poland, and Vaclav Klaus, former president and prime minister of the Czech Republic, two major figures in the region's revival after the end of the Cold War.
"[The Great Rebirth] provides a good overview of the most momentous political development of the late twentieth century, allowing readers to compare the former Soviet states’ early experiences with privatization, macroeconomic stabilization, and foreign trade and investment, as well as their later reforms dealing with taxes, pensions, and the rule of law."
Anders Åslund was a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute from 2006 to 2015. He is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. His area of research is the economic policy of Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe, as well as the broader implications of economic transition. He worked at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace from 1994 to 2005, first as a senior associate and then from 2003 as director of the Russian and Eurasian Program. He also worked at the Brookings Institution and the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. He earned his doctorate from Oxford University.
Åslund served as an economic adviser to the governments of Russia in 1991–94 and Ukraine in 1994–97. He was a professor at the Stockholm School of Economics and the founding director of the Stockholm Institute of East European Economics. He has worked as a Swedish diplomat in Kuwait, Poland, Geneva, and Moscow. He is a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and an honorary professor of the Kyrgyz National University. He is chairman of the Advisory Council of the Center for Social and Economic Research (CASE), Warsaw, and of the Scientific Council of the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition (BOFIT).
He is author or coauthor of 14 books, including Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It (2015), How Capitalism Was Built: The Transformation of Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia(Cambridge University Press, 2007 and 2013), The United States Should Establish Permanent Normal Trade Relations with Russia (2012), How Latvia Came through the Financial Crisis (2011), The Last Shall Be the First: The East European Financial Crisis (2010), The Russia Balance Sheet (2009),How Ukraine Became a Market Economy and Democracy (2009), Russia''s Capitalist Revolution: Why Market Reform Succeeded and Democracy Failed(2007), Building Capitalism: The Transformation of the Former Soviet Bloc(Cambridge University Press, 2002), How Russia Became a Market Economy(Brookings, 1995), Gorbachev''s Struggle for Economic Reform, 2d ed. (Cornell University Press, 1991), and Private Enterprise in Eastern Europe(Macmillan, 1985). He is also editor or coeditor of 16 books, including The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism(2014), Russia after the Global Economic Crisis (2010), Challenges of Globalization: Macroeconomic Imbalances and Development Models (2008),Europe after Enlargement (Cambridge University Press, 2007), and Revolution in Orange (Carnegie Endowment, 2006).
Simeon Djankov, visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, was deputy prime minister and minister of finance of Bulgaria from 2009 to 2013. In this capacity, he represented his country at the Ecofin meetings of finance ministers in Brussels. Prior to his cabinet appointment, Djankov was chief economist of the finance and private sector vice presidency of the World Bank. In his 14 years at the Bank, he worked on regional trade agreements in North Africa, enterprise restructuring and privatization in transition economies, corporate governance in East Asia, and regulatory reforms around the world. He is the founder of the World Bank's Doing Business project. He is author of Inside the Euro Crisis: An Eyewitness Account (2014) and principal author of the World Development Report 2002. He is also coeditor of The Great Rebirth: Lessons from the Victory of Capitalism over Communism (2014).
Djankov is rector of the New Economic School in Russia and a visiting lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. He was associate editor of the Journal of Comparative Economics from 2004 to 2009 and chairman of the Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in 2012–13. He is also a member of the Knowledge and Advisory Council at the World Bank. He has published over 70 articles in professional journals. He obtained his doctorate in economics in 1997 from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.